Saturday August 4, 2018
Each summer as my husband and I take out our 42’ Grand Banks for an 8-10 week cruise I choose some special wines to bring along to review and do some sea-going food pairing. This year we traveled around the beautiful San Juan Islands and Canadian Broughtons area with two other couples each with their own boats.
Heron, Cowabunga and Jubilant rafting
As a wine writer, I have access to some of the best wines possible to take along. My in box is full of opportunities to take advantage of wine samples. I choose to take along Mt. Beautiful wines this trip. I am glad I did. The wines are varietal specific with that wonderful New Zealand terroir popping its head up in each sip. They pair easily with many different foods. The price is right. They perfectly match a beautiful summer.
So let’s raise a glass to summer boating and the warm weather with one of these delicious budget-friendly bottles from Mt. Beautiful wines—each under $25. I think you’ll find the food pairings interesting. They reflect the meals we plan each day aboard our boat, especially the lucky days we catch fresh fish.
Mt. Beautiful is a major New Zealand wine operation, sourcing fruit from the North Canterbury region. Check out “Mt. Beautiful Winery Brand Overview” from Mt. Beautiful Wines on Vimeo. The video is available for your viewing pleasure at https://vimeo.com/23250515
Mt Beautiful 2017 Chardonnay (About $23) paired with fish chowder: This Chardonnay is different from your average oaky or tank crafted ones. We enjoyed the ripe fruit notes of apple, stone fruits and nectarines, the smooth texture and medium body makes it an easy-to-pair wine. The real bonus is the clean finish with lovely flint like minerality.
Planted on the most Northern part of the vineyard it is, “hand-tended and hand-harvested. “ The clones are a mixture of French clones B 95 and 2/23 grafted into root stock. The first vintage was 2013.
Mt Beautiful 2017 Sauvignon Blanc (About $15) paired with Shrimp Fettuccine: Everyone loves this wine, especially me. If I could only stock one type of wine, this would be it for summer boating perfection. Its characteristic New Zealand flavor profile is always a hit and very easy to pair with most summertime foods. Enticing, but not overwhelming tropical flavors of lime, mango and pineapple. The grassy notes are dulled somewhat. A rich mid-palate all the way through to a crisp finish with that bright minerality that we look for in a New Zealand wine.
The majority of the Sauvignon Blanc is planted on the most northern part of the vineyard which is cooler and more suited to this variety. All of the Sauvignon Blanc is hand-thinned and machine harvested before it is pressed into juice on site. The Bordeaux clones used, “ …tends to give a definite lift to Sauvignon Blanc flavors, with less cut grass and more tropical flavors providing a more artisan style, balanced, elegant wine which compliments a range of foods.”
Mt Beautiful 2016 Pinot Noir (About $23) paired with fresh Coho Silver Salmon: Begins with elegant notes of cranberry, black cherry, mild oak, spice and some easy floral notes. Complex yet smooth. It has a lovely warm finish. A little richer than some other Pinots, but did not overwhelm the rich salmon meal.
This Pinot Noir is planted on the Southern section, which has the highest elevation in the vineyard, providing extra warmth and less exposure to frost. Closely planted to reduce vigor resulting in lower crop levels, allowing the grapes to achieve, “… a true expression of this variety.” Hand tended throughout the season and at harvest. The winemaker is looking, “… to build sound palate structure in the wine, providing a vibrant ruby wine with ripe fruit, subtle tannins, great length and persistence of flavor.” I think they made their point very well.
2016 Mt Beautiful Riesling (About $22) paired Crab salad & cornbread: Yummy with ripe but off-dry flavors of honeysuckle and lime. Citrus notes combine with a crisp minerality and ripe apple. Nice acidity on the finish by blending two different blocks of Riesling.
“The Riesling is planted on the higher elevated Southern section of the vineyard bordered by gullies, with the gully to the west being an established pine forest creating a warm sheltered block.”
Mt Beautiful 2017 Beautiful Rose (About $15) paired with a ham sandwich: A dry, crisp blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Gris. Salmon pink color with some floral notes and sweet red berry aromas on the nose. Love those taste of white peach and pink grapefruit. Smooth texture and acid friendly. This is a medium bodied wine with a significant finish. Great for most lunchtime fair.